A woman carrying a handgun managed to get past security and onto a plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport this morning.
It happened at Terminal D during the morning rush, shortly before 6:30 Central time. Screeners with the Transportation Security Administration apparently spotted the handgun in a carry-on bag, but by the time TSA officers went to pull the purse the passenger and taken her purse and was heading to her gate.
It appears that TSA then began looking at surveillance footage to try to figure out which passenger had the bag and where the passenger had gone. Airport police were notified. Security officials did not empty the terminal of passengers, or stop flights, although airport spokesman David Magana said officers did board flights at the 28-gate terminal D to look for the passenger before those planes were OK’d for departure. It took an hour and a half to figure out who the passenger was and where she’d gone.
The woman’s flight, an American Airlines flight to Houston, had already pulled away from the gate. Pilots were told to return, and the woman and her purse with the .38 caliber revolver were removed from the plane. The passenger was in her mid-60s and may have had a permit to carry the gun.
In a statement, TSA explained that “The owner of the bag left the checkpoint before the screening process was complete and prior to surrendering the firearm. To ensure the safety of the traveling public, TSA worked with local law enforcement to locate the passenger and firearm before the plane departed. The passenger in question was taken into custody by Dallas Police and normal operations have resumed.”
The woman, her bag and a .38 caliber pistol were taken off the jet. She reportedly told agents she had forgotten she had it Every other passenger was also rescreened leading that flight to take off over an hour late.
The TSA pointed out that the plane never took off with the gun onboard, and said its screeners catch some 1,200 guns at checkpoints every year.